The team I’m playing as is Santos in Brazil as it’s a club I know well and enjoy playing as from time to time. It also has the State Championships which will be ideal for learning how the tactic works and being able to tweak it before the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A starts. While the State Championships are super easy in some of them, the group I’m in is probably one of the hardest due to it having quite a few strong teams. It still has weak ones as well but there are five or six other teams who are all better than me, so while it’ll be easy for most parts it’ll not be that easy, especially to win it.
Now you’ve seen my ideas down on paper it’s time to put them into practise and see if they actually work like I imagined. So for this I need to concentrate on the first competitive game of the season once my tactic familiarity is all fluid and the players are fit. Trying to gauge how something works in pre-season is hard and actually misleading due to player fitness, tactical familiarity and friendlies not being competitive, so the players play different than they would during the normal season.
I also want to concentrate on just the attacking side of things in this bit of analysis. Once I’ve sorted out attacking then I’ll concentrate more on the defensive side unless I find myself crumbling in the opening ten minutes and getting battered!
The first game will be a test as it’s against one of the better sides São Paulo.
Here is me winning the ball straight from their kick off.
Already you can see how narrow the advanced playmaker is which is good but once we get the ball I need to see if he goes wider. I’m guessing he won’t yet as I’ve not set any individual player instructions as I need to see how it plays before adding these and TI’s. Then I’ll use both PI’s and TI’s to refine the style and make the players behave how I expect them to.
This screenshot shows a potential issue with the advanced playmaker if he drift inwards centrally when we have possession. He is basically going to run into space that the Treq is about to run into. It would be much better if the AP offered me width as this would mean the Treq actually has more space to run into and it should be clear space! The AP would be better suited taking up the paths that the lines show rather than the arrow. This would be more in line with how it worked in 1970. I had a feeling this would happen but now I’ve actually witnessed it I can note it down and change it for the next game.
Note One – The AP needs PI’s to change his behaviour or possibly a role change, however, the latter will only happen if the PI’s can’t achieve what I want.
Next up is the build up for my first goal:
This shows me doing a quick counter attack after winning the ball in my own half. Again I’m not happy with the positioning of the AP at all, far too deep and narrow. The Treq however is showing how versatile he is by occupying the left side this time and is totally unmarked. In this move I have lots of time, space and runners. No-one is really being marked due to how quickly the move happened once I’d won the ball back.
When the right sided complete wingback plays the ball to the inside forward he takes out four of São Paulo’s midfield in one move. The Treq is still totally unmarked and has plenty of space to run into. The inside forward still has a lot of work to do though as he’s running away from goal.
He eventually gets the ball and makes his move, the defender gets across to make the tackle but my inside forward just side-steps and avoids the challenge. He then puts the ball into the box via a cross. While in the end this works out well as we score, albeit from an own goal, I would have liked to see the inside forward cut the ball back into the path of the ball winning midfielder or the advanced playmaker.
It ended up being a lucky goal but the counter attacking and options I had going forward was reminiscent of the Brazilian 1970 team so it was good to see that positive from the move. You can view the full move here;
I know the move might not look impressive to you but for me this is part of the style that I’m trying to recreate. I need to see this happen often especially with all the options I have when breaking forward. That’s not to say every attack should be like this though, I do want to see patient slow build up as well.
I’ve only watched about five minutes of the game so far but I think I might be over aggressive at the minute and rushing things a little too much. This will be down to the control mentality that I’m using so I think I might change it to standard depending on what I see in the next 85 minutes on the pitch. But from what I’ve seen so far I will definitely be changing it at some stage.
Note Two – Drop from control to standard to be more reserved.
I just saw Arouca my deep lying playmaker play this fantastic ball:
A few seconds later in the same move he also showed great vision with this ball:
In fact the full move shows good player movement and different speeds of play:
This is all brilliant stuff if not a bit wasteful in the end but as a base to tweak from the settings I have chosen so far seem to be doing some of what I expect. It needs a lot of refining still but early signs are looking good.
One thing I’ve just noticed and it’s something that completely slipped my mind at the beginning is my goalkeeper’s distribution, it’s awful as he keeps kicking it long. I really need to change it so we don’t give the ball away as easy in future.
Note Three – Instruct the goalkeeper to distribute the ball to the defence.
This is a great through ball and I was unlucky not to score from this. Lima shows good vision and anticipation here to play this ball;
Unfortunately the defender gets across and makes the tackle. The reason I’m highlighting this is I’ve seen a lot of people say they never see through balls or direct balls from deep (the Arouca example above) so I just wanted to show they do happen if you set up correctly. This is the move in full:
As good as the movement is can you see a real issue with the screenshot and the video above? It’s the narrowness and the players all occupying a similar kind of area. This makes it hard at times especially against the teams who are more disciplined defensively or sit deep, they’ll be really hard to break down with no width. This is why its crucial I make the AP play wider. The ball winning midfielder might also be a role I change even though he is contributing really well going forward. He’s taking up positions the Treq and deep lying playmaker are too. So this could leave me a little exposed at the back, if I change him to a central midfielder on a defend duty then he should be more strict positionally and not be as adventurous as he currently is.
Note Four – Considering changing the BWM to a CM defend.
The second goal I scored actually came because my advanced playmaker was out wide!
The advanced playmaker plays the ball to the deep lying playmaker Arouca who then does a great through ball to the deep lying forward who slots the ball home.
I’m seeing lots of through balls which is great, it’s causing the oppositions lots of issues. It’s also good to see the deep lying playmaker as involved as he is, I was expecting I’d need to use a roaming playmaker at some stage as I didn’t believe the deep lying playmaker would work with how involved I wanted him to be in the final third. But so far so good!
The third goal I score is in a similar vein but this time it’s the advanced playmaker (who is out wide again yay!) who plays the final pass into the feet of the Treq.
The rest of the game was me seeing more of the above and overall I was pleased with how we played from an attacking point of view. I also won the game 2-3, one of their goals came from a corner and the other was a carbon copy of the second goal I scored due to the ball winning midfielder getting caught out. Admittedly both goals came late in the game and after I’d made three subs due to tiredness but nonetheless I conceded two goals that perhaps I shouldn’t have and were my fault. I’ll be talking about the defensive side of things in a future update once I’m happy with the attack.
So what have I learnt so far
I’m seeing glimpses of the overall style that I am trying to recreate and while the movement, positioning and use of space were all brilliant in this game it still doesn’t play like the 1970 team for the full 90 minutes, there’s still an awful lot of work to do. The immediate changes that I’ll be making are:
Advanced Playmaker – I need to tweak him with the use of PI’s to make him go wider more often, he is much more of a threat when he goes wide when attacking. So I’ll first try some player instructions to see if I can create the behaviour I am wanting from him. If not then a role change will be in order but at this time I have no idea what role I’d use instead, I’ll cross that bridge when it happens I guess. One thing I am sure of though is I won’t move him from AMC to AML as his positioning for the defensive side of things is already perfect which would be almost impossible to recreate from a wider position, it just wouldn’t be the same regardless of what role/instructions I used.
Change Mentality – The current control mentality is good but its making everything fast paced and far too aggressive for my liking. By changing to standard I hope to slow things down a little and not be positioned as high up the pitch. Hopefully I won’t lose any of the good attacking I saw, I’m hoping the quality will improve and it’ll be more precise.
Goalkeeper – I should have done this before I even played the match, the keeper should be instructed to distribute the ball to the defence. This way it should reduce the amount of times he kicks it longs and is wasteful with our possession. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to over focus on possession but at the same time I don’t expect to give the ball away for no reason either.
Ball Winning Midfielder – I enjoyed how he linked up with attacks and closed down high up the pitch but I think long term it’ll be an issue. Especially as he’s already shown signs that he can cost us goals when he is caught out of position. So I need to weigh up the risk vs reward and decide if it’s a risk I want to take or not. I might give it another game to see how he plays against a different formation but it is something I need to keep a close eye on.
These are the changes I’ll make for the next game with the exception of the BWM one. If I just focus on these few to begin with I shouldn’t see a drastic change compared to if I were to change lots of things in one go. By keeping the changes minimal its simplifies things and makes it easier to keep track of which changes are working and which ones aren’t.
I should have another analysis part up in a few days to document the changes and what difference they made if any.